Local News

Shootings have risen by nearly 40% this year in Durham

Posted September 24, 2020 7:20 a.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2020 7:27 a.m. EDT

— Gun violence is on the rise in Durham this year, according to a report released by the Durham Police Department. This week, four drive-by shootings have been reported, two which have involved children.

From January to Sept. 19, there have been almost 200 more shootings in Durham compared to that same time frame last year. While three fewer people have died by gunfire so far this year, 94 people have been struck by bullets in Durham.

On Wednesday night, two people were shot in Durham, one on Junction Road and the other on East Pilot Street. Both of the gunshot victims had non-life threatening injuries.

Already this year, 35 children under the age of 18 have been struck by gunfire.

On Sept. 18, a 17-year-old was shot in the leg by a passing car while he was walking down Old Oxford Highway. The next day, an 11-year-old girl was shot in the head during another drive-by shooting near the intersection of Guess and Horton Roads in North Durham.

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said that shootings are on the rise, saying the city has had a "very bad summer in terms of gun violence. It's been much worse than the summer before, and the summer before that."

Schewel's first thought to why there is a spike in gun violence is the coronavirus pandemic and the financial hardships that have come with it.

"It's really hard for me to figure out what has caused this spike this summer. It's not just me. I think we're all struggling trying to figure that out," he said. "I know our police are as well. The only obvious thing that's different is COVID."

Shootings have increased by nearly 40% in Durham this year compared to last year. From January to Sept. 19, 2019, 495 shootings were reported in Durham. In the same time frame this year, 689 were reported.

Schewel said that the issue is not that the city does not have enough police officers, but how they are being utilized.

"The issue is how are we using our investigative resources and are we able to get people to cooperate, which is a huge problem," Schewel said about the police.

The mayor said that the federal and state governments need to do their part in passing better gun control laws.

“We’ve got to have better gun control,” said Schewel. “We need a national government that is going to provide some national background checks for people. We need to make it so that people cannot just anonymously buy guns at a flea market.”

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